A Six-Pack With…. Teddy Goalsevelt (Again)
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
By Dan Wiersema / Founder, FBM
In June 2014, during the United States' match against Portugal in the World Cup, America's bars and living rooms were invaded like San Juan Hill with the visage of Mr. Teddy Goalsevelt. He immediately became an Internet and real-life sensation. In the month's afterwards Teddy faded into the background like so many memories of the Brazil. Mike D'Amico, who played the part of the 26th President, returned to a mostly normal world of an everyday soccer fan.
In preparing for our Free Beer Movement 2014 Person of the Year piece on the American soccer fan (which included D'Amico's Goalsevelt) we caught up with the Chicago native on what he's life has been like post-WC.
Free Beer Movement: I realized that when we last spoke I only asked about the story of “Teddy Goalsevelt” and not Mike D'Amico's story.
Teddy Goalsevelt: I should also preface that story with the fact that I am a died-in-the-wool football guy. I played all the way through college; was All-American. So I was sort of brought up in the culture of soccer being dumb and for people who can't play football. Which fed into my never giving it a try.
I casually followed World Cup '06 and enjoyed it. Watched lots of the matches, but didn't understand what I was watching.
Kept an eye on US Soccer for the next few years, and really threw myself at World Cup '10 as a fan. What a ride. I loved it.
So I said to myself, maybe there's something here? Maybe this doesn't have to be a once every four years thing? So I devised a plan to become a soccer fan.
FBM: This was the “Soccer Boot Camp” you mentioned?
TG: Yeah. I realized that what was holding me back was knowledge. We all grow up and absorb our sports almost through osmosis. We all know the rules: why NY hates Boston, who the greats are/were, etc. It's innate. It's our culture.
And so I figured that was the biggest hurdle, was building that foundation of knowledge. So that summer… I gave myself one month. All I was allowed to watch, read, or listen to was soccer-related media. I figured if I can't come out of this a soccer fan I never will.
And I did.
So I started following MLS and EPL closer. Went to more Fire matches. Found Tottenham Hotspur. Started traveling to see USMNT play. The rest is history.
FBM: How would you describe your fandom since returning from Brazil? Have you attended many matches or watched a lot of soccer since?
TG: I attended some Fire matches, including the Spurs v. Fire friendly, but haven't been able to make any U.S. matches since getting back. Unfortunately, real life has been getting in the way. But of course I watch all the time, and follow the EPL closely every week.
Having my best fantasy soccer season ever!
FBM: I never did get a chance to talk beer with ya.. what's your favorite beer?
TG: Having a favorite beer is like having a favorite child. They're all different and I love them dearly.
But my go to is always a classic Guinness. I like Stouts generally. Porters, wits, most anything Belgian (I can say that safely now, right?), and a good lager are also frequent picks.
I do have to say, though… my palate does not agree with the current hoptacular trend. But I'm hanging in there.
FBM: Have you brought any newbies to any games lately?
TG: As far as introducing new people, a couple highlights there. A local radio personality had me on their show a few times as the World Cup was wrapping up, and as most mainstream sports guys do, they made fun of soccer. Which, I get, but wasn't going to put up with.
So I threw it down, “Have you ever actually BEEN to a soccer match?”
“Uhhhh… no… ?” they responded.
“Ok, then you don't get to make fun of soccer any more until you go with me to a Fire match.”
And they did a couple weeks later. Blew. Their. Minds.
“Wait, soooooo these people stand and sing THE WHOLE TIME?!”
FBM: Has the getup made any appearances recently?
TG: None recently. But a couple weeks after the World Cup had ended, there was a huge party thrown by a production company here in Chicago. The Optimus Block Party; it's one of the biggest of the year in the ad industry in Chicago. They close down a street for it. And every year they have a secret/special/surprise guest.
This year, they were going to play it cool and just have this band they brought in. But at the last second they decided to bring me on board, too, so I got to join some elite company. Past guests include, Chocolate Rain Guy, Rod Blagojevich, the Old Spice “Hello, Ladies” Guy… and now me.
FBM: Elite company indeed. Plans to attend the World Cup in Russia in 2018?
TG: Oh fo sho. I'm trying to get everyone I know to do it.
FBM: I mean Teddy did win the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05. Perhaps he can settle some nerves again in Russia.
FBM: I think not.
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